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What to Do When Your Relationship is Going Down the Drain

Source: Pexels Caption: All is not lost if you commit to fighting for your relationship.

All is a bed of roses when you begin a new relationship. You are in love, life is beautiful and your partner is the one. Then some months pass, and the rose-colored lenses clear out. Before you know it, you lose touch with each other, both emotionally and physically. It’s a common scenario, but one that can be stopped in its tracks. Here’s how to do it.

Agree That There is a Problem

You feel that there is a problem and your partner doesn’t or vice versa. In any case, if something has been brought up, then a problem does exist.

If your partner is dismissing whatever you say as unimportant or a fruit of your imagination, you need to make sure that your voice is heard. In doing so, take care not to point fingers and understand that your feelings are not your partner’s.

When you are hurting, you can’t help but project your pain to your significant other. It gets worse if they keep their composure and look as if your feelings do not affect them. It can lead you down the rabbit hole of aggression, depression and self-accusation. In a little bit, you’ll learn why your partner might be acting this way.

For now, let’s consider the other side: you feel like your partner’s concerns stem from their imagination. Even if that’s the case, you have an obligation to get to the rescue. Self-dependence comes first, and any attempt by somebody to get closure from their partner gets deceptively labeled as clinginess.

Well, it’s called a relationship: you relate as one, and if one of you is hurt, so is the other. Being empathetic with your partner’s feelings does not mean that you, too, need to feel down. But it does mean that you need to fulfill your duty as a partner to help resolve the problem.

In either case, you probably feel like you are miles away from your partner — emotionally, and perhaps, physically. Let’s wave away the veil of confusion on why that is happening.

Source: Pexels Caption: Your attachment style determines how you behave in a relationship.

Figure Out What’s Going On

Attachment theory is an eye-opener when it comes to understanding relationships. It results from decades of research on how people attach to their partners. The theory explains why some people appear as stone-cold even in the face of emotional trauma; be it a loss of a close one or an upcoming separation with a long-term partner.

What attachment theory is saying is that people fit into three categories when it comes to attachment: secure, avoidant and anxious. The first is not afraid of intimacy but is also fine with distance. The avoidant prefers not to get involved deeply with someone, and so they appear as emotionally unavailable. The anxious one craves closeness and appears as clingy and suffocating to avoidants.

Once you understand the dynamics of attachment styles, you’ll get insight into your partner, yourself and will finally, get an answer to the question: What went wrong? To start you off with attachment theory, you can read “Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love.”

Source: Pexels Caption: Laying out your problems in writing will make sure that both of you understand where to focus.

Make a List

When you begin the repair process, you need to make sure that you are on the same page — word, even. So, make a list of all the problems that each one of you finds are rocking your boat.

Do not judge the other person, get defensive or undermine your partner’s feelings. What feels like a speck of dust to you might feel like a boulder on your partner’s shoulders.

Also, do not take this list as something definitive; think of it as a living thing that is ill and needs healing. As such, allow for the possibility that new issues might arise and add them to the rest. Tackle them one by one and make sure that all is done with the needs of both of you in mind.

Source: Visually

Caption: You can do plenty to save your relationship.

It Takes Time to Heal

Healing a relationship is like losing some extra pounds — the trouble has been building up for a while, so it won’t go away on a whim. Often, by the time couples decide to take some action in repairing their relationship, the problems have been boiling for a long time.

So, if one or both of you expect to get it over within a single talk, it’ll be like applying a Band-Aid over a gunshot wound. Only because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there, slowly killing your relationship.

Make sure that both parties understand that the most critical thing in repairing a relationship is grit. It’s not even about patience, which is a milder form of grit. It’s about pulling your strength for the sake of both of you. Which is not to say that you should go against yourself if you are in an abusive relationship.

Chances are the healing will be like a low and high tide. You’ll feel irritated and like you want to give up only to remember the good times and feel elated. The proverbial roller-coaster is as fitting here as ever.

So, the idea of taking baby steps is to keep you from burnout. Try to fix one small thing at a time and focus on how good it feels afterward. It will give you the will to keep walking.

In the meantime, you and your partner will stumble and fall. Jump back up, dust yourself off and keep going — any step taken, no matter how small, is a step closer to the end goal — reigniting the spark that brought you together in the first place.

Source: Pexels
Caption: Being physically close with your partner can fix what’s broken.

Play It

Sometimes, the only thing that your relationship is missing is some intimacy. If you’ve lost your way with being physically close with your partner, maybe some good ‘ol games will help.

  • Twister with a Twist – It’s a classic party game that is perfect for couples. It has plenty of physical touch, which can act as a prelude for something more, not to mention the provocative poses. To add a twist to the game, play it naked.
  • Sexy Charades – If you are into role-playing or you have not tried it before, this is a perfect opportunity to do so. You’ll have to step in various shoes, which will allow you and your partner to find out and what role turns you on. Make sure to use words that will add sexiness to the game.
  • Strip Poker – Another exciting classic. It’s more suitable for a group of people, but if you or your partner are conscious about dressing down in front of others, you can play it between the two of you. You can find out how to play strip poker from this useful guide.
  • Truth or Dare – Almost everyone has played truth or dare. If you have, you know that no matter how it starts, the game soon turns sexual. If you haven’t played it before, it’s simple to learn — you can find the rules here.
  • Spin the Bottle – This one, too, is typically played by several people, but can be adapted to a couple. Make a nice dinner, open a bottle of wine and make use of the bottle. Whomever it picks needs to do something sexy.

Talk to a Confidante

This one might be hard to do, especially for men. Although many people are inclined to bottle up their feelings until things get out of hand.

To avoid going overboard and giving into confirmation bias, think of somebody you can trust. Don’t just count on friends or family as this does not guarantee that they won’t betray your trust.

If you feel safe doing so, share your problems and ask for help. But only open up as much as you find comfortable. You can also test-share something small to check if the other person is trustworthy.

Source: East Bay Sex Therapy Center
Caption: Things don’t need to get ugly for you to seek therapy.

Get Professional Help

Unfortunately, there’s still some stigma surrounding people who go to therapy. Indeed, there’s nothing wrong with getting professional help.

On the contrary, not acting on your issues will only make your situation worse, making you appear weak and unattractive. Beware, though, that psychologists are not magicians. They can’t get into your head, but you’ll likely feel some relief from the first session. Again, nobody is forcing you to share more than you feel comfortable, but therapy is only as effective as you allow it to be.

The bottom line is if you feel like your relationship is going down the rabbit hole and you want to save it, you need to be ready to be vulnerable. Despite the public opinion, it is not a sign of weakness. Being comfortable with being uncomfortable shows that you are a secure person going through some rough times.

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